Inheritance Edvard Munch Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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This exceptionally touching artwork was produced by Edvard Munch in 1897/1899, and provides an insight into the tough times experienced by many during the late 19th century.

The composition is simple but highly emotional as a woman looks distraught as she holds a hankey to her endless tears. She is dressed smartly, with a black hat and red feather, with a similarly dark top but green patterned dress. She sits on a long narrow wooden bench and across the wall are a number of notices on an otherwise plain green wall. In a her lap you will find a baby who sadly is dying at that time. She is clearly aware of this and cries quietly in the corner of this Paris hospital. Munch is known to have been there at the time, and used this dreadful moment as inspiration for the painting. He was after all an artist who concentrated on powerful emotions within his work and there isn't much deeper in the soul's pain than to lose one's own child.

The way in which the baby is depicted is clearly expressive and not entirely according to a realistic image. It is almost alien-like in appearance, with an oversized head and thin limbs. The artist adds touches of red paint around the baby's chest which is intended to symbolise the cause of death as syphilis, a disease which typically causes rashes. The pattern found on the mother's dress is not a direct copy of what she may have been wearing that day, but actually a symbolic gesture by Munch who used a pattern of falling leaves, which many believe to represent death.

This artwork can be found at the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway. This venue still remains the best place to learn more about the artist, and that will likely remain the case for the foreseeable future. It hosts an extraordinary collection of his paintings and drawings, making it one of the finest galleries in the world that specialise on one particular artist. They continue to add to their collection from time to time whenever items from his career come up for sale, but they already find it hard to display everything all at the same time, such is the number of items that they have. They have from time to time loaned out paintings in order to allow a more global audience to appreciate the incredible qualities of this artist, and one of their main ambitions is of course to help future generations learn more about this talented and expressive painter.

Inheritance in Detail Edvard Munch